British Book Awards launch into 2018 with new awards for authors, illustrators, and audiobooks

The British Book Awards, or Nibbies, has further expanded its definitive celebration of the UK’s leading creative industry with the introduction of three new categories this year. Two new awards – Author of the Year and Illustrator of the Year – will put the spotlight on individuals, and a new category has been introduced to celebrate audiobooks.

Covering the full journey books embark on – from the author’s mind to the reader’s hand – The British Book Awards honours all the elements that contribute to the achievements of the books industry. Organised by The Bookseller, it showcases the range and depth of modern publishing in this country – to both the industry and the wider public. 

The book trade ended 2017 on another high note, with the print book market growing for the third year running: 189.8 million books were sold last year for £1.592bn, a value increase of £1.4m. Retailers including Sainsbury’s and Blackwell’s also reported positive sales over the Christmas period, with Pete Selby, head of books at Sainsbury’s, saying that gift purchases were now “shifting” from entertainment to books. 

The British Book Awards ceremony – a glamorous highlight in the book world’s calendar – will be held at The Grosvenor House, central London, on 14 May 2018. 

Nigel Roby, Chief Executive of The Bookseller, said: "This year’s additions enable us to recognise the creativity from the audio part of the market, which is showing such significant growth, and to honour the individuals who are at the heart of the book trade. Having a specific
award for Author of the Year clearly makes absolute sense and publishers have been enthusiastic in their support for its introduction. Similarly, illustrators are a vital part of expanding book readership, especially among young readers, and should be recognised officially."

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “The AudioBook of the Year award will enable us to showcase the brilliant work done by narrators and publishers of audiobooks at a pivotal movement for the format.”

Alongside trade accolades such as Publisher of the Year and Book Retailer of the Year, The British Book Awards now rewards seven individual Books of the Year. The category winners will be decided by six panels of judges, and a separate panel will go on to choose the overall Book of the Year from the winners of those awards.

The Author of the Year will be chosen from a field of nominees put forward by publishers. As well as sales success, the judges will be looking to see an author’s support for the wider book trade. The Illustrator of the Year has been added to recognise the overall contribution of illustrators to a book’s sales success. 

The Nibbies was launched in 1990 by Fred Newman, founder and editor of Publishing News, and was taken over by The Bookseller in 2017. Faber was the first Publisher of the Year in 1990; in 2017 the award went to Pan Macmillan. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince scooped Book of the Year in 2006. In 2017, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent took that overall honour.

Submissions are now open for publishers, agents, authors, illustrators, and booksellers. Entries close on Friday, 9 February 2018

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